Lee Richard Adams is an American lyricist. He was born on August 14, 1924, in Mansfield, Ohio, where he spent his childhood. He graduated from Ohio State University with a bachelor of arts in journalism and a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University’s School of Journalism, the latter earned in 1950. For 10 years after graduating from journalism school, Adams worked as a newspaper reporter and a magazine writer and editor for publications such as This Week and Pageant.
In 1949, Adams met composer Charles Strouse, and the two formed a songwriting collaboration that lasted for decades. They wrote for many theatrical revues, and they ultimately wrote (along with book writer Michael Stewart) the 1960 Broadway hit Bye Bye Birdie. For Bye Bye Birdie, Adams and the rest of the writing team won the Tony Award for Best Musical. Adams and Strouse continued writing Broadway shows, and their other most notable show is 1970’s Applause, which starred Hollywood actress Lauren Bacall and earned Adams another Best Musical Tony. After Applause, Adams never saw anything close to the same success on Broadway.
Adams and Strouse also wrote the theme song, “Those Were the Days,” for the popular American television sitcom All in the Family, which ran on CBS for nine seasons from 1971 to 1979. In 1989, Adams was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Adams currently lives in Briarcliff Manor, New York, a suburb about 30 miles north of New York City.